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  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Nov 2, 2023

    Thousands of chum salmon are returning to Johns Creek on the Bayshore Preserve to spawn. Learn about their journey when Capitol Land Trust and Puget Sound Estuarium host Salmon Experience from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and Nov. 10, 11 and 12 at the preserve at 3800 state Route 3, 3 miles north of downtown Shelton. Admission is free. Patrons can learn about salmon from knowledgeable volunteer docents, view salmon via underwater cameras and take tours of Bayshore Preserve, the site...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Oct 12, 2023

    Halloween in Mason County begins this weekend. Simpson Railroad hosts its Halloween Event starting this weekend at the former Simpson sorting yard 10 miles west of downtown Shelton at 10138 W. Shelton Matlock Road. Climb aboard the Pumpkin Pickers Special between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22. Ride the rails though the sorting yard and visit the haunted coach. Children can enjoy activities at the destination and pick a pumpkin at the patch. Tickets...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Oct 12, 2023

    Between the Oct. 5 premieres of the second seasons of "Loki" on Disney+ and "Quantum Leap" on Peacock, plus the Oct. 6 premiere of "Totally Killer" on Amazon Prime Video, it was a banner weekend for time-travel capers on streaming media. Before you dive into "Loki" Season 2, it's best to refresh yourself on Season 1, in which the Norse god Thor's trickster brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) - or rather, an alternate timeline variant of Loki who didn't die fighting Thanos - was recruited by the...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Oct 5, 2023

    Spending the week after the Port Townsend Film Festival in quarantine due to COVID allowed me to catch up on old and new streaming series. "Reservation Dogs" After three seasons and 28 episodes, "Reservation Dogs" went out without a single misstep, wrapping up its multigenerational saga of the oddball everyday lives of the fictional Native American reservation of Okern, Okla., by bidding a farewell to Old Man Fixico, the medicine man who served as the glue holding the community together. The...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 28, 2023

    My first Port Townsend Film Festival was in 2016, and my first marathon review of the film festival for the newspaper was in 2017. This event has evolved yearly, but this year has brought welcome changes. The festival now allows attendees to make digital reservations for their chosen shows and the festival's handouts include guides to all the places to buy snacks and drinks between screenings. My goal was to watch as many as a dozen films in four days. Sept. 21: Day 1 "Red, White & Brass" (2...

  • GETTING OUT

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 14, 2023

    After nearly half a century, the rock band Foreigner is in the middle of its “Historic Farewell Tour,” which began in late 2022 and is set to conclude in 2024, but not before appearing at Little Creek Casino on Sept. 23. Keyboardist Michael Bluestein, a band member since 2008, admitted to bittersweet feelings about the band’s last tour even as he appreciates the chance to feed off the fans’ energy, live and in-person, during the band’s cross-country tour. “It’s thrilling that the b...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 14, 2023

    Meet Ray Shoesmith. He's a fascinating animal. Australian actor, writer and director Scott Ryan spent the better part of 20 years honing this character, and the results impressed no less than actress Helen Mirren and her husband, director Taylor Hackford. Ryan's first draft of Ray's character came in a low-budget but critically acclaimed 2005 independent film called "The Magician," streaming on Amazon, which established Ray in Melbourne, before Ryan transplanted the character to Sydney, for...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 7, 2023

    When it comes to sources of casually consumable storytelling, polymath scholar Umberto Eco isn't the first name anyone thinks of, which is a shame, because while he produced challenging, data-dense novels such as "The Name of the Rose" and "Foucault's Pendulum," he was playful for an intellectual, as director Davide Ferrario reveals in his documentary, "Umberto Eco: A Library of the World." Before Eco died in 2016, he gave Ferrario a tour of his library, which has since been donated to the...

  • Jazz in the Barn Sept. 16 supports Great Bend

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 31, 2023

    The Union-based Great Bend Center for Music has nabbed the jazz stylings of the Kareem Kandi World Orchestra, which will be featured at the center’s second annual “Jazz in the Barn Gala” fundraiser Sept. 16. Kandi recently announced his impending stint as the new host of the “Jazz Northwest” show, which can be heard at 2 p.m. Sundays on KNKX 88.5 FM. The show highlights the jazz scene from Portland to Vancouver, so Great Bend Center for Music General Director Matthew Melendez touted th...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 31, 2023

    After watching the first two episodes of "Ahsoka" on Disney+, my reaction was this: "So this is what 'Star Wars' feels like for those who aren't already fans." I grew up with "Star Wars." I saw the original trilogy when each film premiered in theaters, and I saw each installment of the prequel trilogy on its opening night, too. But there's a generation for whom the prequel trilogy was their first "Star Wars," just like the original trilogy was mine, and they didn't just watch the live-action...

  • Getting Out

    Gordon Weeks|Aug 24, 2023

    The Abbott and Costello comedy routine "Who's On First?," a dramatic telling of the song "You Got Trouble" from "The Music Man" and an original monologue by a local author are among the offerings at the Harstine Island Theatre Club's staging of "The Short Show II" this weekend at the Harstine Island Community Club. Directed by Daniel Frishman, "The Short Show II" is presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at 3371 E. Harstine Island Road N. Tickets are $5 and are available...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 24, 2023

    Is 1985’s “Back to the Future” one of the greatest movies ever made? Opinions vary, but science says “yes,” and the city of Shelton agrees, because it’s running the sci-fi classic as the final installment of this summer’s free-admission “Movies in the Park” series, starting between 8:30-8:45 p.m. on Friday, in Kneeland Park. The 1970s and the 1980s produced scores of excellent films, but what the recent passing of William Friedkin, who directed 1971’s “The French...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 17, 2023

    If you're the sort of binge-viewer who can't stand to start a new season of a show until it's all online, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that all 10 episodes of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" Season 2 are now on Paramount+. The bad news is that, at the risk of revealing spoilers, the "Strange New Worlds" Season 2 finale ends on the biggest cliffhanger since "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I," on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." "Strange New Worlds" continues to be the best...

  • Hoodstock aims to surpass standards

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 10, 2023

    The Hoodstock Music and Arts Festival, at the Hood Canal Marina in Union on Aug. 19-20, aims to be bigger and better this year, thanks to event organizers Kelli Kohout, Meghan Maes and Shannon Crabb-Stanton. Each has a role in staging the festival, with Kohout handling promotions, Maes coordinating vendors and managing the Union City Market, and Crabb-Stanton booking concert acts while shouldering her share of marketing. When asked what this year's more significant upgrades are, Crabb-Stanton...

  • Ninja Turtles peak portrayal in 'Mutant Mayhem

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 10, 2023

    When Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird co-created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1984, the most popular superhero comics on the market during the early '80s included Marv Wolfman and George Perez's "The New Teen Titans," Chris Claremont's "Uncanny X-Men" and Frank Miller's "Daredevil," so angsty teen heroes, outcast mutants and ninja crime-fighters were all the rage. Ever since, the popularity of teenagers, mutants and ninjas in superhero stories has remained relatively strong, but what's been...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Aug 3, 2023

    Live performances by more than 20 bands and solo musicians, laser and pyro shows, a circus tent and an 80-foot illuminated sphere are among the offerings at the Peace Valley Barefoot Festival, hosted Aug. 11-13 at Peace Valley Farmgrounds between Shelton and Matlock. The festival at 2620 W. Little Egypt Road is staged by the nonprofit Sweitzer Strong Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting and educating people who are affected by traumatic brain injury. The organization's major goal is to b...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Aug 3, 2023

    Shelton's free-admission "Movies in the Park" are heading into back-to-back sports films, with 1992's "The Mighty Ducks" on Friday, and 1996's "Space Jam" on Aug. 11, both of which start between 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. in Kneeland Park. It seems every generation needs its own "Bad News Bears," and for a lot of 1990s kids, Disney's pee-wee hockey-playing Ducks were that hard-luck team of underdog misfits, coached by an obligatory disillusioned adult authority figure who didn't want to be there. If you'...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jul 27, 2023

    I devoted the latter half of last Friday to what has been christened the "Barbenheimer" double-feature, screening Christopher Nolan's three-hour "Oppenheimer" that afternoon, before going to dinner for an hour, then taking in Greta Gerwig's two-hour "Barbie" that evening. Nolan and several "Oppenheimer" actors have praised "Barbenheimer" in the press, touting it as proof of a healthy cinematic marketplace, and indeed, watching those two films back-to-back made me feel like I'd gazed into the...

  • Friday movies in Kneeland Park

    Jul 20, 2023

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jul 20, 2023

    For this week’s “In the Dark” column, I’m reviewing two weeks of the Shelton’s free-admission movies in the city’s Movies in the Park series — for July 21, “Holes” from 2003, and for July 28, “Shrek” from 2001. Both start around 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. on Fridays in Kneeland Park. For next week’s column, I’ll be doing a double-decker review of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” both of which are scheduled to premiere that same weekend....

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jul 13, 2023

    Shelton is running its Movies in the Park series this summer, showing free-admission films every Friday from July 14 through Aug. 18 in Kneeland Park, so I'm running six weeks of reviews of each week's featured films, starting with the 1995 safari fantasy "Jumanji," starring Robin Williams. "Jumanji" kicks off the city's movie series this Friday. Among my fellow film nerds, director Joe Johnston gets a bad rap for being a solid yet unambitious meat-and-potatoes filmmaker, who's responsible for...

  • Pearl Django performs July 22 for Great Bend's 'Sound Scholars'

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jul 6, 2023

    Fans of music, fine dining and supporting early childhood education can partake of all three at 6:30 p.m. on July 22, at the Union City Marina when the Pearl Django ensemble demonstrates its three decades of hot club jazz artistry to help generate support for the Great Bend Center for Music's collaboration with Sound Scholars. Great Bend General Director Matthew Melendez noted that this year marks Pearl Django's third year of performing at the Hood Canal to help raise money for his music...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jul 6, 2023

    After some of the dire (albeit nonspoilery) reviews I'd read going into "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," I was expecting a much worse movie than James Mangold - the first non-Steven Spielberg director of this film franchise -delivered. As it stands, "The Dial of Destiny" is a solidly OK entry in the series, certainly much better than 2008's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," that nonetheless suffers for failing to measure up to the first three installments. "The Dial...

  • GETTING OUT

    Gordon Weeks|Jun 29, 2023

    The Kristmas Town Kiwanis Club's 18th annual Bluegrass From the Forest features eight bands, camping, jamming, vendors and the Chick Rose School of Bluegrass from July 7 to 9 at the South Mason Youth Soccer Park at 2102 E. Johns Prairie Road. For ticket information, go to bluegrassfromtheforest.com or call 360-490-8981. The musical lineup ia Alan Bibey and Grasstowne, the Kathy Kallick Band, the Bar K Buckeroos, The Rusty Hinges, Heartbreak Pass, Terry Enyeart and the Steelhead Bluegrass Band,...

  • 'Secret Invasion' pits humans against alien impostors

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jun 29, 2023

    “Secret Invasion” began its six-episode run June 21 on Disney+, with new episodes dropping Wednesdays. Welcome back, Nick Fury. The Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t the same without you. While Samuel L. Jackson still brings the same fire to the role, he’s visibly a different Fury. He walks with a limp. His beard has gone gray. And he no longer bothers to wear an eyepatch to cover his scarred face and cloudy eye. These changes are verbally reinforced by the former spymaster being told...

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